Motorists face delays and traders a dent in their business with the news that more roadworks are due to start next week on a main road into town.
The work at the junction of Harlaxton Road and Springfield Road will widen the road to provide a turn into the site where a KFC drive-thru restaurant will be built next year, creating 40 jobs. The work is due to start on Monday and finish on December 20.
But business leaders in Grantham say traders are already fed-up with roadworks which have blighted the town this year. Trade has been severely hit by roadworks on Springfield Road and London Road.
David Charles, of Grantham Retailers Association, said: “We have had a tough time this year with the roadworks on Springfield Road which caused a lot of upset. It is very disappointing that at one of the busiest times of the year these roadworks are going to start. So many independent retailers are relying on Christmas.
“This will have a very negative effect on the town as a whole.”
But the owners of the land on which the restaurant will be built, Grantham Estates, says the roadworks, which will include four-way traffic lights, should only cause slight congestion to traffic coming into town.
David Hindmarch, managing director of Grantham Estates, said: “There will be a small amount of congestion, but nothing like the congestion that Grantham has experienced already this year which I agree has been dreadful. The traffic flow should continue reasonably unabated. This is only one corner of the junction. We are not closing down the whole junction.”
Mr Hindmarch added: “We own many properties in Grantham and the last thing I want to see is any of our tenants, either retailers or offices, struggling. We want Grantham to be a success and I fully realise the aggravation that traders have had with the roadworks in London Road. It has had a hugely detrimental effect.
“The problem is that we have been held up and held up by the delays with the roadworks in Springfield Road. We are under pressure from KFC to get this built.”
He said work on building the restaurant should start in January and be finished by the end of spring.
The chairman of Grantham Business Club, Stuart Pigram, said the development of a new restaurant, creating 40 jobs, must be seen as a positive, but the roadworks would be a frustration for businesses in the town.
Mr Pigram said: “Fundamentally this is the worst possible time of year, but equally the positive is that 40 jobs will be created in Grantham.
“From a long-term point of view, it is positive that Grantham has been able to attract KFC into opening a larger restaurant. But bearing in mind we are in the run-up to Christmas, this is obviously very frustrating for retailers. Grantham Business Club will do everything it can to support local retailers in this time prior to Christmas.”
County Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Councillor for Highways, said: “Obviously we work to support local developments and the developer is adamant that in order to open on time they need to begin the works now.
“ SKDC insist that the roadworks are done before work on the site can commence and I believe the deadline for opening is Easter. For our part, we have insisted on day/night working and will be monitoring the progress to ensure that it finishes on time. Personally I feel that this corner of Grantham will benefit from development – the site is an eyesore currently and the additional 40 jobs brought to the local economy are badly needed.”